photo: Keith Watson

Caribbean (Tropical)

This focal geography covers the islands of the insular Caribbean, including the Bahamas, Greater Antilles (Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Puerto Rico), Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Lesser Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago, and the islands off the coast of Venezuela. The Caribbean holds a number of habitats important to shorebirds, including extensive sand banks and intertidal flats, sheltered bays and saline lagoons, mangrove forests, sandy beaches, freshwater wetlands, rice fields and managed shooting swamps.

The Caribbean provides important staging and wintering habitat for Focal species including Whimbrel, both Yellowlegs, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot and Semipalmated Sandpiper, and additional species such as Short-billed Dowitcher. Of particular note is the Caribbean’s importance for wintering Piping Plover, and especially Joulter Cays in the Bahamas. Wetlands in the Lesser Antilles and the managed shooting swamps in Barbados provide important refuges for migrating shorebirds, such as the American Golden-Plover, Lesser Yellowlegs, and Whimbrel, during adverse weather conditions, including for. This focal geography also supports small numbers of beach-nesting shorebirds, including resident populations of American Oystercatchers, Snowy Plovers, and Wilson’s Plovers.

Threats to shorebirds in the Caribbean include commercial, industrial, and residential development; incompatible coastal engineering; human disturbance; pollution; predation of eggs, chicks, and adults from elevated numbers of native, non-native, and domestic predators; and incompatible management practices. A particularly significant threat in this geography is unsustainable hunting of some species.